Updated: Jun 6
Ocean plastic is everywhere, and an urgent response is needed from the government and the marine industries. Marine Scotland is updating its Marine Strategy, which was last published in 2014 and is out for consultation.
A comprehensive response to the marine litter strategy has been written by Scottish charity plasticatbay.org with some key findings for us all. They have done extensive research and work in the field of ocean plastics, so they are best placed to give an informed, in-depth response which you can find here.
Some key findings to help reduce ocean plastic around Scotland and the UK.
Scotland is one of the most polluted coasts in the world. According to @PlasticBays report, research, and data NW Scotland is one of the most polluted coasts in Europe (probably in the world).
We need a review of the enforcement of the terrestrial littering and fly-tipping regulations.
We urgently need the development of a waste management system. Currently, marine waste is shipped to Europe for processing. We must improve recycling routes for end-of-life fishing gear in the UK with a local processing facility.
Implement producer responsibility across the UK. Scotland and the entire UK need to align with the EU and implement the ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ on Fishing Gear, making manufacturers pay for collection and recycling.
Fishing and aquaculture are responsible for the majority of ocean pollution. According to the data collected by @plasticbay, 50 to 90% of the ocean plastics removed by weight is from fishing and aquaculture.
We need a policy to reduce sewage-related pollution from industry and water companies.
We need the development of an international plastic pellet certification scheme.
Coastal Rangers work, and we need more around our coasts A major gap in the consultation is the omission of beach cleaning requirements. Coastal rangers have been implemented when funding has been there, and they work at finding marine pollution before they become a problem. There is too much reliance on charities and the goodwill of the public.
Monitoring needs to be expanded nationwide and all year round. We noticed vast variations between the summer when most surveys used by Marine Scotland are done in the winter, when ocean plastic pollution is at its worst and lacks data.
Net cuttings and waste from aquaculture Marine Scotland still fails to recognise net cuttings and waste from aquaculture and shipping as a major source of ocean plastic pollution.
What can you do to end ocean plastic pollution?
Fundamentally we have a problem, and we also have some clear solutions which need to be implemented asap across Scotland and the UK, the EU, and the world. This issue is one of the most important in the world right now and needs to be put firmly on the agenda.